Jeff Jarvis starts a Twitter revolution with #fuckyouwashington
The first thing that went through my mind when I heard about Jeff Jarvis starting a revolution on Twitter tonight was “How the hell can I write a column about a #fuckyouwashington hashtag without using the word ‘fuck?'”
Then I saw somebody compare it to Howard Beale’s “I’m mad as hell” speech in Network. Have you watched that clip lately? The parallel is perfect. Howard doesn’t know what to do about crime, oil, or Russians, he’s just demanding that we do something.
The same thing is happening on Twitter right now. Nobody knows what to do about unemployment, corporatism, or the debt ceiling, they just want everybody to get mad about it right now!
Watch the tag for a while and you’ll notice that half of these tweets contradict the other half. Half the protesters think we should solve this by going hard right, the other half think we should solve it by going hard left.
But Washington is gridlocked because America is gridlocked. The outrage on Twitter is random and unfocused because there are actually three different kinds of anger at work here.
First, we have left and right anger, the friction you would expect when you have 30% pulling right, 30% pulling left and 40% stuck in the undecided middle.
But there is another kind of anger layered on top of that. The right wing guys aren’t really behaving like right wing guys and the left wing guys aren’t really behaving like left wing guys.
Republicans who were sent to Congress to cut spending and fight corruption are proposing half-measures and rolling over for the very people they were sent there to oppose. And this anger started long before the 2010 congress. Obama didn’t start the bank bailouts, Bush did. The incredible ramp in deficit spending started with Bush, too.
Obama ran as a hard left populist champion, promising to rise above corporate influence and bring the troops home. Now he’s starting new wars and raking in banker cash with both hands.
So there’s our third heat. The right can’t make things go right and the left can’t make things go left. Increasingly, Washington is working from a set of priorities that have no connection to the will of the people.
If the country was going consistently right or left, at least 30% of the voters would be happy. But we’re in the middle of a serious recession and our politicians seem to be broadcasting from another planet.
Every day they go on TV to stoke the fear, scaring us with words like “crisis” and “default,” each demanding that we blame the other side.
That part is working. Americans are angry and afraid. You told us there was a crisis and we believe you. But we’re not blaming “the other side” — we’re blaming everybody.
Thirty percent of voters will blame the left for anything that goes wrong and 30% will blame the right, but 40% in the middle are ready to blame both of you.
Playing political games with loaded issues is nothing new, but this time everybody knows it’s a game. Voters aren’t stupid. They’re watching cable and reading blogs. They’re listening to talk radio and swapping conspiracy theories on Facebook.
Everybody knows you guys are running the clock out, waiting for the next election. But you can’t have it both ways. You can’t go on TV to scare the shit out of us every day and then expect us to wait patiently for 2012.
You can’t use words like “urgent” and “crisis” and then waste our time with Kabuki theater.
Either the situation is urgent and needs to be solved now, or it’s all just an act that can wait for 2012. This isn’t 1954, gentlemen. The voters are on to you now. We know you’re playing a game and we know you’re using us as chess pieces.
That’s why #fuckyouwashington is trending on Twitter. We’re tired of being pawns.
Every politician in Washington needs to pay attention to this outrage and remember who they’re working for.